15th July 2015
Farewell, The Heroes
It’s July 11th 2015. At The Shed a band comes on stage, a band that has not played together for several years; not since 2010, in fact. This is the reunion gig of a band that, in its time, was the best in Leicester. It would not be the first local band to play a come-back show; but this is not intended to be a come-back. It is a reunion gig for four guys and it will happen only once. I am standing in the audience looking at those four familiar faces on the stage: Alex Totman (guitarist and lead singer), Alex Van Roose (we call him Rooster) guitarist and singer, Ali Lee, (bass player) and Liam Atkins (drummer.) This is a band that I have followed from their very early days; I never imagined, after they split up, that I would ever see them together again. I was surprised – shocked even – when I heard that they would be playing one final gig tonight. It had the same resonance for me as hearing that Take That or the Rolling Stones or Oasis would play again. As soon as the news was confirmed, I started to write the story of The Heroes. So, here it is…
From the Prologue to The Heroes… in golden times – the story of band by Trevor Locke, ArtsIn Publishing, July 2015.
The Heroes have played their last ever gig. The musicians bowed out for the final time as the audience cheered and clapped with unbridled enthusiasm. It had been and impressive and successful gig. The Shed was full of people, friends met together who had not seen each other for years and the evening was one big celebration of music. It was a party atmosphere that had a strong hint of nostalgia. Many people in the room remembered those days when going to see The Heroes was a night out that they looked forward to. For some it meant a coach trip to a venue in London or Birmingham. A night with The Heroes meant great music, an evening with young and excited friends and gaining a set of memories that would remain for years afterwards.
It was like that tonight – except that the faces were somewhat older, the fans had moved on (some now had children to look after) and there was a sense of sadness and regret in the air, as people realised that this would be the last time that they would see those four faces together on a stage. Bassist Alistair Lee recollected that he had suggested that the two Alexes get back in touch. Alex Totman (lead singer) and Alex Van Roose (known to his mates as ‘Rooster’) met up after five years and this night was born.
You might imagine that a band that had not even seen each other for five years – yet alone played together – would be a bit rusty. Not a bit of it – The Heroes played one of their best sets ever. It had all the passion, razmataz and swagger that won them so many fans in the old days. Tonight they delivered a set that sparkled, that oozed the musical lifeblood that runs through their veins and gave us a performance that was simply sensational.
Tonight we heard songs that were outstanding; performances of songs that have stood the test of time and were as compelling as they day they were first played – at The Charlotte, at Glastonbury, at The Dublin Castle or even right here in The Shed. Flowers in Golden Times, Wake Up Radio, Ease and their smash hit Blue Rave: these songs have a freshness and compellingness today as when they first came out. They are memorable songs; melodies not easily forgotten; and tonight we heard them all.
This was a reunion of four friends, a group of musicians whose lives wound together for some years; they had to do it one last time, to give their experience closure both for themselves and for their friends, their families and their fans. As a gig, it stood out for just about everyone and time will confer on it accolades rarely given to other events in Leicester’s extensive musical calendar.
When I heard that the Heroes was to play one last show, I started to write a biography. I wanted to tell the story of a band that stood out – one that I had followed almost since they started – to create a record of the life and times of a group of young artists who had achieved so much, who had delighted so many people (all over the country) and whose story deserved to be preserved in print.
Photos from the show at The Shed, by RhinoFeroSs photography